Dec 192013 0 Responses

You Aren’t What You Feel

“Greetings, O favored one.” Could there have been a better way for the angel of the Lord to greet Mary?

“You have found favor with God,” he says. Can you fathom living a life in which you know you have the favor of God?

Imagine what it means to have the favor of God.

Of course for Mary it would mean morning sickness, telling Joseph she was pregnant, and waiting for some time until an angel visited him.

But she had the favor of God.

Of course her reputation would be shot—not forever, but for a long time. Most would never believe her. Many would believe her but only 30 years later when Jesus proved himself. A handful would believe her after the birth. But from the angel to the delivery nearly every person she knew would judge her.

But she had the favor of God. Imagine what that must have felt like.

Of course it felt like a long, uncomfortable donkey ride, no room in the inn, and intense labor pains.

I wonder if Mary felt favorable:

when she was pushing in the stable or delivering her first child without her family?

when she heard the decree to kill all the baby boys or as she was fleeing to Egypt?

when she wasn’t sleeping because of an infant or as she was raising a toddler?

when they lost him at the Temple?

when he was 28 and still living at home?

when he began to irritate the religious types?

when he said his true family was whoever did his Father’s will?

when threats began against him?

when he was arrested?

when he was on trial?

when people cheered for a criminal and cursed her son?

when he was sentenced to death?

when he was beaten?

when he was nailed to the Cross?

when she heard his cries?

when she watched him strain to breathe?

when he gave up his spirit?

when they put the sword into his side?

when they buried him?

Mary found favor with God, but how often did God’s favor not feel favorable? What we often miss about Mary is that while she was tremendously blessed, the blessing was often a source of great struggle and concern. Her life would have probably been far easier had she not had the favor of God.

Even with God’s favor, she rarely felt favorable.

Sure, there were moments she treasured in her heart. She was overwhelmed after the birth, amazed by her 12–year-old at the Temple, and beaming with pride as Jesus took the scroll for his first sermon. But those were the exception more than the rule. From what we know about Mary’s life, she probably didn’t feel very favored on most occasions.

But she was.

She didn’t feel it, but she was favored. She didn’t fully understand it, but she was doing the will of God. She couldn’t conceive of the whole plan, but generations later we are still telling her story.

Her feelings weren’t wrong to have, but they weren’t the right definition of her life. What God decided was right. What the angel pronounced was true. No matter what Mary felt in the moment, she had the favor of God.

As it was for Mary, so it is for us.

If you are a recipient of God’s grace, you are loved, forgiven, chosen, holy.

No matter what you feel like in the moment, what God has said is true.

No matter the guilt, He has forgiven you.

No matter the loneliness, He is with you.

No matter the confusion, He has a plan.

What you feel is important, but it is not the definition of your life. It wasn’t for Mary and it’s not for you.

If your eyes have been opened to God’s grace, you have found favor with God.  

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